During the recent IRS hearings where ‘victims’ testified, predictably Republicans threw out the softballs to motivate storytelling and Democrats attempted to damage the credibility of the IRS ‘victims’.
The Democratic strategy was to create a false premise somewhere between weak and false and to place the blame for being victimized on the victims; standard stuff. Here come the lessons.
1) The ‘victims’ rejected the false premises and brought the issue back to its fundamental level.
2) The ‘victims’ counterattacked based the issue of fundamental rights and the facts of their case.
3) The ‘victims’ turned the arguments back on the questioners.
4) The ‘victims’ turned the questions back on the questioner.
Such as, and I paraphrase: “how did my donor lists get to my opponents? Only my organization and the IRS had it, how did that happen Congressman, and do you support that type of activity at the IRS?” “You can call my activities political; what would your call the IRS’s behavior?” And my favorite; “Congressman your attitude and your attempt to justify this activity is exactly what gives license to the IRS to engage in these types of behaviors, this is your fault”.
The questioners on the Congressional Committee appeared to be under the assumption that, as is often been the case, the ‘victims’ would be intimidated by the situation. Wrong! The ‘victims’ testified with controlled, righteous indignation; refusing to accept false premises and refusing to accept a redefinition of what happened to them. The standard attempt to place the blame for what the IRS did to them at their doorstep was roundly and effectively rejected! The questioners were frequently flummoxed, cowered, befuddled and frequently silent in response to the ‘victims’ counterattacks. You could almost hear a number of Congresspersons having one of those “oh shit, this will show up as a campaign video” moments.
Will they/we never learn to anticipate the unintended consequences? The IRS effort to profile, yes profile, the Tea Party and Tea Party ‘type’ groups has in fact reignited those groups and individuals. The Congressional hearings provided a national stage for individuals who came to be viewed sympathetically. Not a one of them appeared anything other than, smart, rational and with their Ducks firmly set in a row. It would be nice to see that much class in Congress.
‘Victims’? There were no ‘victims’ here, at least not from a global perspective. This was an exercise in truth to power, this was a challenge based on facts.
Oh yea, and by the way, our belief that ‘government is too big, too intrusive and no good can come of it’; you know the ideas that you all had so much fun, making fun of.
How do you like me now??